Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tropical gardening - Thai Basil

Think about Thai Green Curry and you can't forget the strong aroma of basil. It was said that basil originated from Asia. Indians planted them for protection. Easteners use it for funeral. Greeks say it represents hate and misfortune, but Europeans say it stood for love and sympathy. The mixed feelings is exactly how the aroma of basil is to our taste buds. You may sometimes feel the strong aroma too compulsive, yet pleasing. The herb is useful as it has antidepressant, antiseptic and soothing properties.
Where to get
You could find the baby plant in the supermarkets food department (apparently herbs like basil, parsley and mint are the in things now). I seldom see them sold in the local nurseries. But the lazy thing that I did and you could do is to buy the cut basil from wet market and just thrust the trunk into well drained soil. Water them well. Let them settle for a few days. About 10% of them will survive (hehe..).
How to maintain
The plant is rather easy to maintain. Just make sure they are planted in well-drained, moist and medium rich soil. The plant requires full sun (in other word, just leave it anywhere with sunlight). Water them daily. Done. Easy bitsy.
The herb can be extracted to make essential oil, but the oil should not be used during pregnancy.

Quick cooking tips - My Extreme Kerabu (Salad)
A handful of basil (coarsely chopped)
A handful of mint (coarsely chopped)
A raw mango (shredded)
A handful of shallots/onion (shredded)
Half/Quarter pineapple (coarsely shredded)
3 small chillis (finely chopped)
A bunch of sugar coated peanuts (roughly crushed)

Throw them all into a container and do a samba with the container. Bon apetit!

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